Understanding Parsi Population Decline, Video Text Available

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Parsi Population

As many of you know, I recently gave at talk at the Nehru Centre in
Mumbai on the topic of “Understanding Parsi Population Decline: A
Historical Perspective.” This talk, similar to the talk that I gave
in Houston in December 2010, consults the scholarship of professional
demographers in order to clear up popular confusion in the Parsi
community over why, precisely, our population figures have been
declining over the past few decades. It highlights the fact that ALL
professional demographic studies show that intermarriage, or migration
to the West, is not the prime reason for population decline. Rather,
the defining reasons are late marriage and non-marriage in the Parsi
community, and the resultant few number of children born. This has
translated into smaller and smaller generations of Parsi youth, and a
larger proportion of aged persons, something starkly obvious here in
Mumbai and elsewhere in India.

Thanks to Kainaz Amaria, a US photojournalist currently based in
Mumbai, this talk was videotaped and is now posted online in three
different parts:

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

Part 3: 

In particular, I would like to direct you to 33:23 of Part 3, where
Dinshaw Mehta, chairman of the BPP, acknowledges the seriousness of
the demographic problem and pledges that the BPP will give it the
attention it deserves. I have been in touch with Mr. Mehta since

The chairman of the BPP has acknowledged our demographic crisis. Now
it is time for those of us in North America — who face additional
challenges caused by a geographically dispersed population — to give
this critically-needed attention, support, and funding. This really
should be the #1 priority of FEZANA, and the later that we put off
decisive action, the greater our number of lost opportunities, and the
smaller and weaker our future community will be. All other issues and
concerns pale in comparison with the stark reality that we are
currently not doing enough to ensure a robust “next generation” for
the community. The seriousness of this crisis is readily apparent
from the “Promoting Marriage” survey report I sent around late last

A PDF copy of my Nehru Centre talk, with graphs and figures, is also
attached here. Please feel free to forward it, along with the links
to the videos, to anyone who might be interested.

It is time to move from talk to action.

Best regards,


Dinyar Patel
Ph.D. Candidate, Modern South Asia
Department of History
Harvard University
+91 87672 03572

[Attachment(s) from Dinyar Patel included below]

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